By the Will of God, Colossians 1:1

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.”

Col. 1:1

Paul was called to be an apostle by the will of God.  It was not of Paul or of any other man’s doing. It was the calling of  God alone.

However, Paul did have a choice. He could accept God’s will or reject it. He accepted it and became the greatest apostle who ever lived.

Who are you called to be “by the will of God”? It will not be of your own doing or of any other person’s doing.

You also have a choice.

Will you accept or reject that calling?

If you accept, who knows where your path will end.

But God’s will shall have been performed, and for that, you will not be left in regret or wonder.


Join in the conversation:

Do you know God’s will God for your life?

Are you struggling with God’s will?

What encouragement can you share for those who are struggling in this area?


 

Adding Geography to Your Bible Lessons, Part II

Use Geography to Make Lessons Come Alive

Introducing the geography of a particular Biblical event gives added understanding and enlightenment to the concepts being taught. Students are able to envision the scene in their minds and are able to engage in the action of the story.

What picture do you envision after reading the following statement?

The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Colossians was written by the apostle Paul while he was imprisoned in Rome.

Compare that picture to what you envision after the following added elements.

Rome was the major city in the Roman Empire. The city remains to this day in the modern nation of Italy. Now the students can imagine a place of which they may be familiar.

But what if we added more information. Let’s see if we can get the students involved in the learning process.

How many miles is the present-day city of Rome from the present-day city of Jerusalem?

What route did the soldiers take as they brought Paul from Jerusalem to Rome? How did they travel? Would this have been an easy trip? What was the terrain like in and around the city?

Where was the prison located in the city?

How would Paul’s prison have differed from a modern-day prison? Where would he have gotten his food and other necessities?

What route would Paul’s letter travel when being sent from Rome to Colosse?

What modern-day city is near where Colosse once stood?

How far did the Roman Empire extend beyond Colosse?

In what modern-day country would one find the remains of the city of Colosse? What types of roads would you travel in order to get there?

In which direction would you travel in order to go from Colosse to Laodicea or to Hierapolis?

These “where” questions can be inserted alongside the other 4 W’s: who, what, when, and why.

Teaching and engaging students with all of the 5 W’s will make your Bible lessons come alive for your students.

Adding Geography to Your Bible Lessons, Part I

Are You Teaching the Five W‘s?

Students are taught the necessity of including the who, what, where, when, and why in their writing assignments. However, as teachers, are we including those 5 W’s in our presentations?

What may be missing in your lesson plan?

Sunday school teachers may do well with the who — the characters, or the what — the action that takes place, but what about the where?

Where does the action take place?

The where is the setting of the story. This is where the introduction of geography is important.

How many can point to modern-day Jerusalem on a map?

Where was Babylon located?

In what modern-day nation would Babylon be found?

In what modern-day nation would one find the ancient cities of Corinth or Athens?

Were these cities located inland or by a river or by the sea? How would this have affected their culture, their eating habits, or their accumulation of wealth?

Why teach the setting of a Biblical event?

Teaching the setting of a Biblical event helps students to accept the reality of the story, to envision the characters in their proper surroundings, and develop further understanding of Biblical times.

The introduction of geography may have your students’ interest peaked in ways you may never have imagined. More on this in our next post.


A Picture of Christ and His Church

The Godly Man’s Role

As Spiritual Leader…

A godly man desires to be the spiritual leader of his home.  He is in conflict for his family as Paul was for the citizens of the Colossian church.

He desires, as Paul did, that his family would be comforted, knit together in love, understanding of his role in the home, and acknowledging of his accountability before God.

As Decision Maker…

As the leader of his home, a godly man must make decisions that affect his entire household. He does not make those decisions lightly.

It is a heavy burden that he must bare for the consequences of those decisions can bring about a good result or a disastrous one.

As Seeking God’s Guidance…

Therefore, it is of utmost importance, that the family members understand and acknowledge his role and thus pray for God’s guidance in his decisions.

The Family’s Role

The family is a beautiful picture of Christ and His Church.

As a picture of the body of Christ, the family body that prays together, is knit together, comforts one another, and upholds one another is a family that is a beautiful picture of Christ and His church.


 

Letters Are Special

Everyone loves to receive a letter sent through snail-mail.

There’s just something about holding a letter in your hand that someone took the time to personally write.

It may be a personal note, or it could be a reminder of some special event. Whatever the topic, someone thought enough of you to send it. That is what makes it so special.

Then there are those letters sent special delivery.

They’re those hand-delivered ones. You tremble as you receive them because sometimes those can contain information that is hard to accept.

It may contain news of a tragic event, but it also may contain exciting news that delights your soul.

A long-lost friend has finally found you, or a reunion is about to take place. You’ve won an all-expenses paid vacation, or the car which has given you so much trouble has finally been recalled.

Letters are special. And in that sense you, as the recipient, are special also.


Continue the story…


Back to the beginning of the story…


 

 

 

 

Strategic Location, Opportunity

Colossae was strategically located along a trade route that led east to west from the Euphrates Valley to the city of Ephesus and the Aegean Sea. The church located there would have had the opportunity to exert a great influence over the traveling merchantmen engaging them to help spread the gospel message.

Did they utilize their location and material wealth to do so?

Were they overtaken by the angel worship that had deceived many in the surrounding areas?

Did they fulfill their ministry?

Many questions remain.

Those few that survived after the great earthquake occupied a small village and continued there until another earthquake destroyed the area. Hopefully, their godly influence remained long after the demise of their great city.

Where has God strategically placed you?

Are you utilizing that placement to help spread the gospel message?

Are you fulfilling the ministry to which you are called?

What influence will remain after you leave this world?

Continue the story…


Go back to beginning…


 

A Devastating Event

Devastating Earthquake Recorded

The Roman senator and historian, Tacitus, kept a journal of events that happened in the Roman Empire during his time. This journal called The Annals has been translated by Alfred Church and William Bradribb and gives us insight and a valuable timeline as to the happenings in the empire during the reign of several emperors.

Of particular interest to us, Book XIV of The Annals has an important statement concerning the area surrounding Colosse and Laodicea.

“One of the famous cities of Asia, Laodicea, was that same year overthrown by a earthquake, and, without any relief from us, recovered itself by its own resources.”

This earthquake happened sometime between AD 60 and AD 62 during the reign of Nero. The tri-city area of Colosse, Laodicea, and Hierapolis was devastated. Laodicea and Hierapolis managed to recover from the ruins.

However, Colosse lay in ruins and was never able to restore itself. Today, those ruins lie somewhere beneath the sod. Only a mound remains to remind us of its existence.

Continue the story…


Return to the beginning at History in the Making.


 

Two Letters?

Did you know that Colosse, Hierapolis, and Laodicea were a tri-city area?

Did you also know that Paul’s epistle to the Colossians was also written to the Laodiceans? In fact, Paul wrote another letter to the Laodiceans that was to be shared with the Colossians.

Oh, a mystery letter! Yes, it may be a mystery to us; but what is important is the messages we do have.

Revelation 3 gives us insight as to the condition of the churches in this area at the end of the first century. Do you see any similarities to the church today?

Continue the story… 


Begin the story at History in the Making.


 

Backpacking to Colosse

Sheep following shepherd
Sheep following shepherd

Let’s grab our backpacks and hike to Colosse. That way, hopefully, we can see some of those black sheep grazing on the hillsides and, possibly, get a glimpse of the shepherds as they tend their flocks.

It’s a long dusty road, but we can’t wait to see famous Colosse. Since it was such a successful economic center, it must have one of those nice high-rise hotels so we can rest our feet for a day and view the city from an upper balcony. Yes, and let’s go shopping and get some souvenirs to take home with us.

But something’s the matter. What is it?

The maps says Colosse was right here, but where is it? I don’t see any city.

Maybe it’s just over that rise and we can’t see it. Let’s climb that mound and then we’ll find it.

Look at the map again. Did we take a wrong turn?

No, we’re at the right place. My calculations show that we are standing right on top of Colosse.

What? Standing on top of it? You mean it’s under our feet?

Yes, this mound is all that is left of Colosse. No big city, no high-rise hotels, no large banks, no merchants’ stalls.

What happened? It was such a prosperous city. Are you telling me that now all that is left of Colosse is this mound of dirt? We must find out what happened to the city.

Yes, we must; and what happened to the people who lived there, especially the church.

Continue the story…